7 Summer Car Maintenance Tips
Extreme weather can take its toll on your car. If you use your ride to take you back and forth to classes, you know that keeping it running smoothly is a priority. With summer’s heat looming, there are a few maintenance matters you should tend to right now, in a bid to avoid trouble and to keep your car running smoothly.
1. Check your tires. Inspect your tires when they are cold, that is, you’ve driven less than a mile on them before checking the air pressure. Set the tire pressure to the PSI recommended in your car’s owner manual and inspect each tire for wear. Rotate your tires at least once every 6,000 miles. Tires that have been on your car for more than six years should be replaced.
2. Replace the air filter. A clean air filter can help your car breathe. It should be checked twice annually and replaced at least once every 12,000 miles. A dirty air filter can affect performance and reduce your fuel mileage. Consider investing in a cotton air filter, a reusable and easy to be clean filter that can last the life of your car.
3. Flush the radiator. Your car’s cooling system can accumulate sludge and rust, not the right ingredients to ensure long life. If you haven’t flushed the radiator in a few years, now is the time to replace the antifreeze. It is a job you can handle with a garden hose, a nylon brush, work gloves, a bucket, distilled water and new antifreeze.
4. Examine your battery. Your car’s battery ensures that enough electricity is supplied to engage your ignition, operate your audio system, and handle the electronic devices you prize. It can also become gunked up and corrode. Removing battery corrosion is easy to do, something you can handle with a box of baking soda, water, a stiff brush and a wrench.
5. Change your oil. It used to be that 3,000 mile oil change intervals were recommended. No more. Today’s cars can go much longer between changes, with your owner’s manual prescribing those intervals. When you change your oil, change your oil filter too. Dispose of your oil properly through your town’s recycling center to avoid polluting sensitive water ways.
6. Inspect your brakes. Brake pads help bring your car to a safe stop, but when they’re worn out your brake rotors can become damaged. Regularly inspecting and replacing your pads will ensure that your car stops safely and helps you avoid an expensive repair bill.
7. Replace your windshield wipers. Heat can take its toll on your wiper blades, causing them to streak when you need a clear windshield the most. A twice annual replacement can be wise: just before summer and again just before winter. Don’t forget the rear wiper if you have one.
You should also check your car’s head lights, tail lights and turn signal lights before your next inspection. Keep your car’s finish looking good too by waxing it every three months. Regular washings will remove dirt and road grime, keeping your car looking great for many years to come.